Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Poisoner's Ring - Kelley Armstrong

The Poisoner's Ring is the second book in Kelley Armstrong's 'A Rip Through Time' series. Now, you don't have to have read the first book to enjoy this tale as Armstrong provides enough backstory in the opening chapters to catch up. 

In 2019, Mallory, a American Homicide Detective who went on a trip to Edinburgh, was attacked and left for dead in an alley. But, Mallory isn't dead. And here's where the series title comes in - she wakes up in a hospital to find herself in the body of a housemaid, who was also attacked in the same alley. 1869. What a great set up! 

From the outside looking in, she appears to be a maid, but once a detective, always a detective. This latest case is too close for comfort for Mallory's benefactors. I really enjoy how the cases are solved - which is the 'old fashioned' way - using deductions, legwork, suspicions, observations and more. Forensic science is in it's infancy and Mallory can help with that.  Armstrong always comes up with a well written, not easy to solve, crime. This latest is no exception - I changed my guess multiple times on the way to the final pages. 

I quite like Mallory as a lead character. We're privy to her inner thoughts as she tries to adapt to the time frame, keep up a fa├žade and help her benefactors solve local crime. She has to think of everything - what her behaviour should look like, the language she uses and how to navigate in a past she doesn't really know much about. The supporting cast is excellent - the master of the house and his sister have skills and interests that intersect with Mallory's talents. 
I also appreciate the detailed description of the settings and the social strata as well. 

A unique premise, great characters, a keep 'em guessing mystery and more. I feel a romantic thread may develop in the next entry? The ending is satisfying, but there are still questions to be answered. The biggest being if Mallory can ever get back through the rip. And on the other hand...where is Catriona?

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